Lady Chieftains pitch a third-quarter shutout in lopsided district win

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FARMINGTON — The Shiprock girls basketball team overwhelmed Navajo Prep tonight with a 57-19 win at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

It was only an 8-point difference when the two District 1-4A squads met on Jan. 24, but the Lady Chieftains (19-5, 4-0) left no doubt as to who the better team was tonight, speeding out to a 36-13 first-half lead.

Shiprock coach Larenson Henderson said his team's active defense stifled Prep (11-9, 1-3) from the get-go.

"We've been really practicing on our defense and being more alert on the floor," Henderson said. "Having our hands out, anticipating the next plays. The girls did a phenomenal job at it tonight."

Shiprock held Prep guards scoreless in the game. The Lady Eagles became predictable on offense after that, repeatedly feeding post players and drawing double teams as a result. Lady Eagles coach Rainy Crisp also said points off turnovers was a much bigger factor in tonight's loss than it was the first time the teams met.

"(Shiprock) capitalized on every turnover they got this time," Crisp said. "That wasn't necessarily the case last time, but they made us pay with it tonight."

Tanisha Begay had 15 points, and Paige Dale had 12 as the Lady Chieftains continually pushed the ball on offense.

"Every time we got a rebound, we went," Henderson said. "We spread the floor out, got the ball up the floor and made some plays. We're sharing the ball like a championship team should."

The Lady Chiefs closed the game as strongly as they started it, with a 21-6 second-half run, including 13-0 third quarter.

Undefeated in district play, Shiprock tries to make it five wins in a row on Tuesday when Wingate (16-6, 3-1) visits.

Nineteen points is not a season low for Prep, which scored only 17 in a loss to Laguna Acoma on Jan. 27. The Lady Eagles have lost five of their last six games, and Crisp said it's imperative that they bounce back in Saturday's home tilt with Thoreau (9-13, 0-4).

"Beating Thoreau the last time, we know they're definitely going to want this next game," Crisp said. "So we're going to have to bounce back and come focused on these last two games so we can build momentum for the district tournament."

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. 

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